Chocolate Tahini Cookies

We had chocolate. We had tahini. Buckle up for some chocolate tahini cookies, y’all.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies are Very Good

We like to take the opportunity to make food with our kids, especially when it’s fun food. Watson and Vivi love to each get a bowl full of ingredients to mix. They make an ungodly mess, but it’s adorable and who cares? You don’t have to clean the floor.

Watson has been very into Halloween lately, so he wanted to use his ghost cookie cutter to make some ghostly cookies. That didn’t work very well, since these cookies are very crumbly and fall apart pretty easily. They’re really better in a lumpy mound configuration.

Let me go on a short digression about tahini, if you will: tahini is great, you guys. It makes great sauces, it’s great in these cookies, it’s great in hummus, etc. Get some. Use it. Love it.

These are not cookies for folks with an extreme sweet tooth. They’re way more on the savory side. But they’re super tasty, and since they’re pretty crumbly, they offer a lot of delicious crumb-collecting fun once you’re done with all of the bits that hold together.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond meal
1 c flour of choice (we’ve used both spelt and rice flour with success, although the rice flour makes for a crumblier cookie)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough on a lined baking sheet, and press them down flat (but not too flat) with the heel of your hand. You can try rolling them out and using cookie cutters, like Watson wanted to do, but these cookies are pretty crumbly. The thinner they are, the more easily they fall apart once they’re baked. Bake each batch for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

I don’t like to keep coming back to the same topic, but let’s be real: tacos are the bomb. It is less well-known, but no less true, that roasted cauliflower is also the bomb. You can probably guess that I believe roasted cauliflower tacos to therefore be the bomb. You would be right. I’m probably also making it clear that my grasp of post-nineties slang is not all that and a bag of chips, as it were. Sue me.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos – A Delicious, Healthy Treat

We got ourselves some gorgeous purple cauliflower in our Hungry Harvest box this week, and we immediately knew we were going to make tacos with it. It turns out cauliflower is perfect for tacos. The nooks and crannies of the florets soak up cooking oil and spices, and they get nice and brown and crunchy in the oven. On top of a toasted corn tortilla, alongside an appropriate set of garnishes, there’s basically nothing better.

I wish I’d known earlier in life how delicious roasted vegetables were. I wish my kids were more receptive to my trying to teach them the lessons I wish I’d learned at their age. I wish that last sentence were easier to parse (but it makes sense, I promise!).

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

Two small heads of cauliflower (we used a pretty purple kind)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp chili powder

Slaw:

1 kohlrabi cut into matchsticks
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut cauliflower up into medium florets and toss with oil and spices. Roast on a lined baking sheet for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients of the slaw together in a medium bowl. Toast a few corn tortillas lightly on the stovetop. Serve the tacos with diced avocado.

Simple Peach Pie Energy Balls

We love energy balls. Seriously, we really love them. We make them as snacks all the time. They seem small and unassuming, but they’re little dense bites of deliciousness, and they help stave off the hunger that creeps up between breakfast and lunch. As filling snacks go, these peach pie energy balls fit the bill quite nicely.

It’s also the end of summer and the beginning of fall, even if the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. Peaches feel like a summer food, but peach pie is what you make in the fall from all the peaches you thought you were going to eat and didn’t. These energy balls are the perfect fusion of summer flavor and fall comfort.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. If you’ve got some measuring cups, a food processor, and five minutes, you’ve got everything you need to make these. When you’re getting meals ready for the week and there are three kids underfoot, it’s a small blessing to have a recipe that’s so simple. And one that doesn’t involve opening a hot oven when the kids are running around and curious.

These are also the kind of thing that makes packing lunches at 5:15 am a breeze. The more we’ve got already packed, that we can just grab and go, the better.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup dried peaches
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup coconut
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

Just dump all of the stuff into a food processor, blitz until it’s crumbly, and then make it into balls and refrigerate. Eat one for a quick, delicious pick-me-up when you’re feeling hungry in the midmorning. That way you won’t be tempted to run out for a coffee and a donut because Royal Farms has Krispy Kremes and they’re delicious. Not that I’ve ever done that. Of course not.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls with Spiked Apple Cider Glaze

I don’t have to prove my autumn bona fides to you. I mean, I will, but I don’t have to. So what’s more fall than pumpkin spice? What’s more fall than cinnamon rolls? How about pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, the diabolical fusion of the two?

These right here are some tasty cinnamon rolls. They came together wonderfully, the glaze and filling are delicious, and they taste like autumn wrapped up in a beautiful spiral bow. Go and make them and eat them. Please. I want this for you.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

1 small squash
3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 sticks vegan butter (we used Earth’s Balance)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 Tsp ginger
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp nutmeg
1 Tsp cloves
1 Tsp allspice
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup spiced rum

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast until brown and soft. Scoop out and mash up the inside of the squash (it should make about 2/3 of a cup).

Warm up the almond milk to room temperature (we microwaved ours for about 30 seconds). Sprinkle yeast on top and mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Knead in flour, 1/2 stick of butter, honey, and salt. Let rest until doubled while you watch Inhumans because you’re curious, and looking through Netflix for something you can both agree to watch sounds exhausting.

Roll dough into a rectangle. In a food processor blend together stick of butter, spices, and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Spread the butter mixture on the dough and roll up. Cut into slices and place in a baking pan, spaced out so the rolls have room to grow. Let sit overnight. In the morning preheat the oven to 400° F and bake for about an hour, or until golden. While baking, place cider, rum, and remaining 1/4 cup of syrup in a pan and reduce until 1/2 cup or so is left. Poor over hot rolls and let sit for about 5 minutes to cool and soak up the syrup. Enjoy your amazing pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls.

Hungry Harvest Review

We’ve writtena lotaboutHungryHarvest, but it occurred to us that we’ve never written a straight up Hungry Harvest review. Since we started participating in the Hungry Harvest Ambassadors program, we’ve been seeing so much more of what the service has to offer, and we wanted to share some of that with you.

Selections from this week's Hungry Harvest

First Things First: The Food

A food delivery service like Hungry Harvest lives and dies on the quality of the food. You might feel like you’re walking a tightrope with a service that proudly advertises that they make use of food that would otherwise go to waste. On this front we can confidently say that we’ve seen absolutely no reason for skepticism about the quality of the food that Hungry Harvest delivers. On their website, they tell you exactly how and why they got each piece of produce they sent you, whether it’s because farmers simply grew too much, or whether some items were a little too small or misshapen for the store. We’ve never had a case where we were sent food that was inedible.

We have been sent food that went bad a little bit quicker than we expected, but here’s the thing: this happens with food we get at the grocery store too. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve brought home a bag of oranges only to find, a day later, that one of them is entirely covered in mold. Does that happen with Hungry Harvest from time to time? Sure. But that’s just the nature of fresh produce. The food we get delivered is at least as high quality as anything we would otherwise get from the grocery store.

Next: The Delivery

Delivery is always prompt on Saturday morning, right around 8:00. We get a text message to let us know that the delivery is almost there, and the delivery person is always friendly and helpful and brings the boxes right up to the door. We’ve never been anything less than thrilled with the delivery portion of the service.

Customer Service

We’ve had a couple of times when mistakes were made. Maybe we ordered two portobello caps and only got one, things like that. Every time, when we’ve contacted Hungry Harvest to address it, they’ve been responsive and helpful. They’ve given us refunds where appropriate, and taken steps to address the issues to ensure they’re less likely to happen next time.

One feature they’ve added recently is customization of our box, and we couldn’t be happier with it. For a small fee, we can change amounts of produce that we get. We try to leave things just about as they started, but sometimes we don’t have enough planned to use 8 mangos, so letting us customize the box gives us more power to ensure we’re fighting food waste at home just as Hungry Harvest is fighting food waste in its whole operation.

The Price

We’ve found that the price of what we get in our Hungry Harvest deliveries is about comparable to what we’d pay for the same stuff at the grocery store, and it saves us a trip. Beyond that, Hungry Harvest donates produce to people in need, so our grocery dollars are also going to an organization that’s helping directly fight hunger.

Vivian and Freddy playing with our Hungry Harvest delivery

Hungry Harvest Review: Conclusion

Hungry Harvest is absolutely worth your time and money. It saves us a trip to the store to get our produce, the kids love playing with the new fruits and vegetables, and it helps to fight food waste and hunger. Delivery is prompt, the food is fresh and delicious, the price is right, and the customer service can’t be beat.

If Hungry Harvest operates in your area and you’re interested in signing up, you can go to this website. If you use the code HERO5, you’ll get $5 off of your first delivery. #hungryharvesthero

Mini Vegan Frittata Cups

I tend to prefer savory breakfasts, but with our diet it’s a little hard to make savory stuff in the mornings. As a consequence we tend to just stick to oatmeal. We’re huge fans of chickpea flour omelets on the weekends however, and I knew there had to be a quick and easy way to make that happen for the the week. There had to be a way to use chickpea flour and make something like a vegan frittata portable. (Side note: this is not the only amazing thing you can do with chickpea flour)

Enter the Vegan Frittata Cup

I know what you’re thinking, and no, vegan frittata is not an oxymoron. Chickpea flour batter is not exactly the same as eggs, but it does a nice job of binding the veggies together, and it’s really tasty in its own right! These cups heat up well for a quick and easy work breakfast. The best part is that these vegan frittata cups are pretty light, so eat as many as you want with no consequences.

Vegan frittata cups

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium tomatoes
2 small zucchinis
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup soaked cashews
2 cup water
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp everything spice (we used some from Trader Joe’s, you could also just pop in equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, poppy seeds and salt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Sautee the tomatoes and zucchini until soft and the tomatoes have begun to break down a bit. Fill one and a half muffin tins to about a third of each cup (I used silicone cups to make this a bit neater; I would not recommend paper cups as we tried those as well and they kind of fell apart). Blend the rest of the ingredients until smooth and then pour over the vegetables, spreading evenly among the filled cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are dry.

 

Fall Kale Salad

It’s finally started to cool down a bit here and we’re super excited to be receiving some beautiful fall fruits and vegetables in our Hungry Harvest box. The kids have been going nuts over all of the grapes, and we’ve been going wild about all of the kale, sweet potatoes, and squash. Last Saturday night for dinner we made a giant fall salad that was filling, delicious, and felt like fall in a bowl. The dressing recipe makes a lot, so save it to use on grain bowls or to top veggie burgers later in the week like we did!

Our kids aren’t generally too into salad, but we gave them some of the roasted vegetable cubes and apples along with sandwiches so they were getting some of our food. Watson takes tiny, tiny bites in order to qualify to get a treat later, if we’re feeling generous. Sometimes Vivian just eats all of the sweet potatoes she can find. Freddy is our wild card. He often eats whatever we put in front of his face, but sometimes he turns up his nose at everything. I still can’t quite get a read on that guy.

Watson and a big fall salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

1 cup pecans
Juice and zest of two oranges
1/4 cup tamari
2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp gochujang

Salad:

1 bunch kale, shredded
2 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup chickpeas, roasted with garlic powder and salt
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 apples, cut into cubes or matchsticks
1/2 cup kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Toss the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and carrots in the oil and roast at 450 for about 30 minutes, or until the cubes are brown in places.

Meanwhile, blend together dressing ingredients until smooth.

Toss kale, roasted vegetables, fruits and about 1/4 c of the dressing, or however much makes you happy. Top with pumpkin seeds and devour.

Fall Beer Review

I love beer. I love fall. It follows, then, that I adore fall beer. If you put a pumpkin in some beer, chances are I’m going to love it. If you even just put a pumpkin on the label, I am there for it. I haven’t been drinking too much beer since we’ve been trying to lose some weight, but I swung by the liquor store to grab some fall beer this week to let you know what I think of them.

New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Atomic Pumpkin

This is a fall beer so strange, so audacious, that I can’t help but give it a higher rating than I might based on taste alone. It’s a pumpkin ale with cinnamon and habañero peppers, so it’s got that sweet fall beer flavor mixed with some considerable heat. The combination is off kilter and experimental, but also pleasant and homey. We’re living in a golden age, when brewers can feel comfortable enough taking niche tastes to a mass market. 3.75 stars.

Vivi is puzzled over this spicy fall beer

Bell’s Octoberfest Beer

This is your standard Octoberfest, but a really good one. The spice is mellow and restrained, but enough to give you that warm fall beer flavor. Super smooth, super tasty. 4.25 stars.

Freddy is downright affronted by this fall beer

Alltech Kentucky Pumpkin Barrel Ale

This one is surprisingly light for a 10% ABV beer aged in bourbon barrels! Not the perfect late-on-a-work-night, post-workout beer, but you play the hand you’re dealt. It’s light on its feet, but full bodied, and leaves you pleasantly cotton-headed. 4 stars.

I finished this fall beer while writing a review of it

Victory Festbier

A nice mellow amber lager. This would be a really nice staple fall beer for one of those outdoor parties where everyone’s wearing a jacket and Halloween decorations are out. A little sweet, some mild spice, and just a really pleasant beer. 3.75 stars.

Watson was happy to present me with this fall beer

Flying Dog The Fear Imperial Pumpkin Ale

 

This one didn’t really work for me. It’s beer, so it’s automatically got 3 stars or so, but I wish it leaned a little heavier on the Pumpkin, lighter on the imperial. This is a heavy beer in exactly the way the Alltech beer above wasn’t. It’s 9.0% ABV, and you feel every percentage point. You definitely do taste the pumpkin, but it gets a bit overwhelmed by everything else going on. 3.25 stars.

 

 

Back to School with Hungry Harvest

Our kids aren’t old enough for full time school yet. Watson is starting preschool, so we’re feeling back to school season for the first time since childhood. He’s learning a lot at school (for today’s show and tell he had to bring something that begins with the letter C). We want them to learn about good eating habits just as they learn letters and numbers and more at school.

We’ve been really glad to start every weekend with a Hungry Harvest* delivery to go through with the kids. They’ve had such fun unloading the boxes with us and helping us put fruits and vegetables away, and they get the chance to learn what everything is and how we use it! The weekends are usually all about cooking and other food prep for the week, and we try to involve the kids as much as possible in that. The fact that Hungry Harvest gives us a good variety every week means the kids are always learning about new foods instead of just seeing the same old ones.

*This is an affiliate link. If you click it and use the code HERO5 you’ll get $5 off your first Harvest!

We’re also trying to get better at feeding them what we eat. We feel it complements their school learning to learn about new healthy foods. Vegetables help them grow, and they taste better than kids think! Watson frequently gets out of his chair to show us how he grew a little bit taller every time he eats a bite of broccoli.

We watched an episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood where the focus was on trying new foods. Watson and Vivian have taken it to heart enough to try little bites most of the time. Freddy, on the other hand, eats anything we put near him.

With their excitement about food and learning, each of our kids has been a #hungryharvesthero. Back to school season is a good time for us to remember that we’re always teaching our kids. Hungry Harvest gives us a really good means to teach them how to eat delicious, healthy food.

Baked Sweet Potato with Shiitake Bacon

We got ourselves a surfeit of sweet potatoes this week. We decided to dice and roast some for adding to grain bowls, but we were still left with a few big ones. Jocelyn had the brilliant idea for a baked sweet potato recipe, covered with toppings that feel decadent but are actually really healthy.

Baked Sweet Potato: A Sweeter Take on a Classic

Turns out a baked sweet potato is just like a baked potato! People probably already knew this, but I’m slow. Don’t judge me. Anyway, we all know that what makes a baked potato isn’t the potato itself, but the toppings. We were determined to find a combination of toppings that felt rich and delicious, but was also decently healthy. We settled on some “cheese” sauce, avocados, crispy fried onions, and some shiitake bacon.

Now I, like all right thinking people, was skeptical of this whole shiitake bacon idea. Before we started eating vegetarian, I was a fan of bacon. The internet’s extreme enthusiasm for bacon in everything ever blunted my appreciation, but I still had fond memories of it. I was skeptical that making something out of mushrooms and calling it bacon would be anything but a cruel joke.

Guys? This shiitake bacon is no joke.

For real, it’s meaty and salty and smoky and just really wonderful. Much more than I could ever have imagined. So run, don’t walk, to your nearest sweet potato monger and demand several of his or her finest sweet potatoes. You’ve got a meal to make.

Baked Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

Two big sweet potatoes
One batch nacho cheese sauce
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp smoked paprika
Avocado, cubed or mashed
As many crispy fried onions as you can handle

Directions:

Bake sweet potatoes (about an hour at 350° F, or you can microwave if you’re in hurry).

While the potatoes are baking, marinate mushrooms in soy sauce, olive oil, and paprika for about half an hour. Sautée until crisp (about ten minutes). This is the shiitake bacon.

Cover the sweet potatoes with all the toppings and shove in your face.